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Grading Every Block


Does your block make the grade?

That’s a ques­tion you will actu­al­ly be ask­ing your­self in the near future, at least if the recent ven­ture Block­Av­enue takes off. The new com­pa­ny from Boston’s Dog­patch Labs recent­ly raised $200,000 from angel investors and is set on trans­lat­ing the 50 mil­lion data points they have acquired and aggre­gat­ed from across the Unit­ed States into let­ter grades. Accord­ing to the company’s founder and CEO Tony Lon­go, “find­ing the right place to live in a city can be dif­fi­cult and in dense urban areas, qual­i­ty of life is often deter­mined more by which block you live on than which neigh­bor­hood you are in.” In the tra­di­tion of oth­er loca­tion com­pa­nies, Block­Av­enue will ana­lyze data like crime sta­tis­tics to pub­lic tran­sit options as well as local restau­rant and shop­ping grades to deter­mine each block’s over­all A‑F let­ter grade.

Rate Any­thing

Anoth­er fas­ci­nat­ing aspect of the Block­Av­enue site is that users can rate just about any­thing on it, from con­ve­nience stores to tobac­co shops to schools. This has been a long time, as Yelp has already allowed just about any­thing to have a review writ­ten on it. How­ev­er, Block­Av­enue will con­sol­i­date these reviews into their own rat­ing sys­tem and place them on a map with over­all sta­tis­ti­cal data. As BlockAvenue’s Lon­go states, “Until now, loca­tion-based infor­ma­tion has not been aggre­gat­ed in an easy and use­ful way for peo­ple to under­stand and con­sume. By pro­vid­ing an intu­itive plat­form pow­ered by both geo­da­ta and social con­ver­sa­tion, we can help peo­ple under­stand what the make­up is or where the trend is head­ing at vir­tu­al­ly any loca­tion through­out the U.S.”

Com­plex­i­ty of the Rat­ings System

As Block­Av­enue is a brand new loca­tion com­pa­ny, it is still work­ing out the kinks. Using it in the first few days after it’s launch will ren­der a num­ber of fun­ny and inac­cu­rate grades around the world, as well as var­i­ous busi­ness­es which aren’t locat­ed in the cor­rect place on the map. For instance, a num­ber of oceans have both F and B rat­ings, which seems com­i­cal­ly inac­cu­rate and many places around the world receive arbi­trary grades from A to F with no real expla­na­tion. Of course, as the com­pa­ny grows all of these tech­no­log­i­cal hic­cups should be ironed out. The tab­u­la­tion of the rat­ings per block will also be the source of debate as Block­Av­enue grows in the future. For exam­ple, will a block with a num­ber of excel­lent restau­rants and shops have their grade seri­ous­ly imped­ed because a few sex offend­ers also live on it? How will these clash­ing sta­tis­tics effect that block going for­ward. In these cas­es, the launch and pros­per­i­ty of Block­Av­enue may shat­ter a cer­tain bliss­ful ignorance.

Start­ing out Block­Av­enue will be most focused on major met­ro­pol­i­tan areas like Boston, New York and Wash­ing­ton, D.C. but hopes to expand every­where, based on response.

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